The news wasn’t great as the Blackhawks took the ice to face the red-hot Dallas Stars. Dylan Strome was a surprise scratch; the team reported he was in concussion protocol and wouldn’t be in the lineup. Matthew Highmore did dress; Chicago went with a full compliment of 12 forwards (thankfully).
Dallas came out and controlled the pace early but then the game turned into a track meet. The action was fast and furious but Corey Crawford was superb.
At 11:20 into the first Brandon Saad bwat Anton Khudobin to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
It was the 100th goal for Saad as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, making him the 46th player in organization history to reach that benchmark. The assists went to Alex Nylander and Erik Gustafsson.
Among players from the 2011 NHL Draft, only Nikita Kucherov (196), Gabriel Landeskog (180) and Mark Scheifele (159) have scored more goals than Saad, who scored 55 in his two seasons with Columbus. Landeskog (second) and Scheifele (seventh) were first round picks that year; Kucherov (58th) and Saad (43rd) were selected in the second round.
After 20 minutes of play the goaltenders were the story. Chicago held a 12-9 shot advantage and one-goal lead on the scoreboard but both netminders were terrific.
Not much changed in the second period – except Kirby Dach no longer taking faceoffs. Dach won two of three draws in the first period but Ryan Carpenter was centering Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat for most of the second period.
Dallas really brought it but the Blackhawks – collectively – did a great job keeping the puck out of the net. Calvin de Haan kept a loose puck that has slipped through Crawford out of the net at one point. Chicago was credited with 11 blocked shots through 40 minutes.
After two periods the shots were 23 for both teams but, thanks to Crawford, the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Hawks. Kane had been on the ice for 15:14 of the first 40 minutes with one shot on net.
Chicago’s defense was very active. Olli Maatta was credited with three shots on net in the first two periods and Chicago’s defensemen were taking the puck deep frequently.
The Hawks got their first power play in the middle of the third period and took advantage. Kane rifled a shot into the back of the net to extend his personal point streak to 13 games.
DeBrincat and Andrew Shaw picked up the assists on Kane’s 12th of the year.
At the time of Kane’s goal Chicago had an 11-4 shot advantage in the third period. Dallas was playing for the second consecutive night and Chicago’s tempo was wearing on them.
Dallas pulled Khudobin with just under three minutes left and Connor Murphy found the empty cage to extend the lead to three.
The goal was unassisted and is Murphy’s second of the year.
That’s where the score would end.
The shutout is the 26th of Crawford’s career. He ranks seventh in Blackhawks history in that department and is two from catching Mike Karakas and Jocelyn Thibault. He’s four behind Eddie Belfour for fourth in franchise history.
Corey Crawford last 6 games:
4-1-1, 1.82 GAA, .948 Sv% #Blackhawks
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) November 27, 2019
Chicago ended up with a 38-32 shot advantage in the game. Both netminders were exceptional.
Jonathan Toews won 10 of 22 faceoffs in 17:01. Kane finished the night with three shots on net in 21:53.
Keith, Murphy and de Haan were the defensemen over 20 minutes for Chicago. Brent Seabrook was the only defenseman without a shot on net. Seabrook, Keith and de Haan led the way with three blocked shots each. de Haan also led the blue line with four hits.
Shaw led Chicago with five hits.
Dach didn’t take a faceoff after the first period. He skated 15:01 with one shot, one blocked shot and one takeaway.